SPF 262: What is the Aim of “Church Discipline?” (In a World of Inclusion, Is There a Time to Exclude?)

Our culture constantly uses the word “inclusive” but is there a time for the Church to exclusive? What about when it comes to matter of “church discipline?” Today I am sharing how we can avoid being deceived by worldly voices when it comes to being inclusive and exclusive in the church.

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Show Notes:
The purpose of church discipline is the reconciliation and restoration of an unrepentant sinner.

Church discipline does not exist for personal vendettas against another; it’s not about a pastor being the ultimate judge or authority; and it’s certainly not the ability to condemn someone to hell.

The end goal in church discipline isn’t even punishment.

So what is church discipline and what is the aim, or purpose?

Church discipline is seen in several places in Scripture, but there is an excellent order given by Jesus to us in Matthew 18 concerning confrontation of sin and church discipline. Church discipline is the final plea for an unrepentant person to forsake their sin and turn back to the Lord. 

There is a process met with a desire to see a person turn from their sin and know the grace of God, and for order and peace to be restored to the body of Christ.

The final part of the process is a removal of that person from the fellowship of the church.

For what purpose?

For the hope and prayer that they would come to realize and understand their sin and repent to the Lord. Then they are to be welcomed back warmly by the church.

Lord willing church discipline is a temporary experience for the unrepentant sinner, so that the Lord would use this to open eyes and soften their hearts.

Biblical church discipline is designed for the hope of restoration and with the aim of forgiveness and love.

That means for the offended, we must be ready to forgive. That means not giving way to the schemes of the devil that would like the offended to be bitter and angry and resentful. A lack of forgiveness on the church’s behalf of a repentant sinner means they are being outwitted by the designs of Satan. 

The cold shoulder is a trap.

The bitter root is a deep trap.

In a Ligonier Table Talk issue this was written about church discipline, “When discipline is brought against Center, forgiveness, and restoration must always be the goal. We cannot control whether the center will respond with repentance, but we can stand ready to forget when Center turns from his transgression. As we are engaged in church, discipline, or even when we are facing someone who has sinned against us personally, and less significant way, let us stay and ready to forgive when the person repents.”

Table Talk The Comfort of Church Discipline and Restoration: https://tabletalkmagazine.com/article/2021/03/the-comfort-of-church-discipline-and-restoration/

Ligonier Church Discipline: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/church-discipline


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